Monday, March 28, 2011

Creepy Experience at the TNT Area

This personal experience of mine was featured several years ago on the Your Ghost Stories website.  Obviously, this took place before an explosion at one of the igloos shut down the area.  (On a slightly related note, we were AT the TNT area the day before the explosion, taking my son on his first trip to the igloos.  Perfect timing, eh?)

The former West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) was an explosives manufacturing facility constructed for the sole purpose of producing 720, 000 tons of TNT per day. It was constructed on 8,323 acres along the east bank of the Ohio River, along State Route 62, 6 miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

From 1942 to 1945, the West Virginia Ordnance Works (WVOW) manufactured explosives for use in munitions and explosives for the war effort. Although owned by DoD, WVOW was operated by a private company to produce TNT. When it closed in 1945, WVOW was declared surplus, and the structures were salvaged or disposed. The former West Virginia Ordnance Works is on the National Priorities List and work is being done there by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Anyway, the TNT area hasn't actually manufactured TNT since WW2 ended. It's now part of the McClintic Wildlife Management area and the igloos are above-ground concrete bunkers where the TNT was stored. They're designed in a way that planes passing over cannot tell they're there... And that if one should explode it wouldn't set off a chain reaction.

Most of the igloos are now privately owned or owned by the army, and out of hundreds, only a few are accessible, and only three of those are "open to tourists."

After the war, it WAS a popular place for private enterprises to use in storing TNT and related paraphernalia, and to this day, there's a good chance that some of the igloos still ARE being implemented for that. However, in the 1980s, the whole area was added to the government's SuperFund list after fishermen reported a red, bubbling goo coming up from the ponds. Allegedly, a lot of the bunkers were supposed to have been cleaned out, but again, who knows.

The area's REAL claim to fame, however, comes from Mothman. The first reported sighting of Mothman came from the area's North power plant, which was torn down in the 90s. The next night, some locals went out to the bunker area to try and scare people out looking for Mothman, when they they allegedly encountered him themselves.

In addition to Mothman, many other areas around the property are said to be haunted, especially the area around the present-day shooting range, where there are no less than two murders taking place there in recent history.

However, my story comes from the area around the old igloos...

On a whim one summer night in 2008, my friend and I went exploring the TNT area in Pt. Pleasant . We've checked out the accessible igloos many times, only three of which were actually opened, but he wanted to show me some pallets, drums, and other debris that had recently been placed in front of a few of the privately owned igloos, which were located down a different trail than the one that held the open igloos.

This time of year, there are gates blocking off the small roads, so you have to take the trail by foot. We had two flashlights and the moon was REALLY bright, so the trail was well lit. We went down the trail and got to see three igloos, but then the trail was cut off by a small stream that was overflowing, so we turned back around. Near the first igloo, the one closest to the car, I smelled what I thought was a dead animal. I didn't say anything, because even though the smell was REALLY strong, and I didn't smell it on our trip in, we were out in the middle of a wildlife area... Its only natural to smell a dead animal sometimes.

A few steps later, we were back to where we had parked the car. To get back to the car, we had to go around a big farm gate, which was no problem... Except I'm a klutz. I got my pants stuck on a weed or something, so I was holding on to the gate's pole with both hands trying to shake myself free. My friend was laughing at me, and I was laughing, but cursing, staring down at the ground trying to figure out why I was so tangled up.  I felt what felt like tall grass or weeds whipping around my ankles, but didn't SEE them.

In my peripheral vision, I saw a human form come towards me from my left side... the side closest to the car, and thus, freedom.  The "person" put his arm on my shoulder to steady me. At first I thought it was my friend who had somehow managed to slip behind me and was trying to help me out. Then it clicked that something was REALLY not right.

It wasn't exactly tunnel vision, but somehow I seemed to subconsciously block out everything around me, and could only focus on this shape that was slightly in front of me, and it seemed like the whole scene was shot in movie mode, as if I were watching it on TV, not standing there. I could only see the side/back area of the figure. It was a younger male wearing a white t-shirt, with tan skin, and not jet black hair, but really dark brown, cut short, but longer on the top than on the sides. It only stood about 6 feet, and wasn't very muscular... Just average built, if not maybe on the slim side.

What clicked was... The friend I was with was wearing a gray sleeveless shirt and is HEAVILY tattooed with full sleeves on both arms. He stands about 6'5 and is a bigger guy, fairly muscular, with long light brown hair. This was definitely not him, especially since after I freed myself, I whipped around and he was about a foot behind me on the wrong side of the gate still. I snapped back around to see what DID help me, and it was gone.

I didn't even say anything really until we got back safely in the car and started down the road, and I told him what I saw. He swears he didn't see anything, but knows that I have a history of seeing things that most people can't see, and saw how excited, yet shaken I was, so he believed that I at least THOUGHT I saw something. He said something to the affect of maybe whatever was there was warning us not to go down that path. To me, that didn't make any sense, since I had only experienced it AS WE WERE LEAVING.  The first thing I said was the first thing that popped into my head... He didn't want us to leave.

That opened up a whole other discussion, albeit a facetious one, about there possibly being a body buried back there somewhere. The TNT area has seen its fair share of murders and body dumping... So it wouldn't be completely unheard of. I mentioned that there was definitely SOMETHING dead back there, referencing that horrid stench I had smelled just previous to seeing the apparition. Again, my friend swears he didn't smell anything, which I thought was odd, because the stench was so overpowering. But now looking back... Maybe it was an introductory olfactory response to what was about to happen...

I've already told him that if a dead body shows up, don't bother to tell me about it.  Instead, I'd just like to continue on thinking I was either hallucinating, or saw a residual image of an event that has probably happened before in that spot--two legend trippers out there exploring the igloos...chick gets caught and boy comes to save her.  As an update, no body was ever found to my knowledge, and this just isn't a "case" that I feel I want to investigate or research further at this time.

*The photo is from that night, and shows some of the stuff that was sitting out in front of one of the igloos.* 

Theresa's Haunted History FaceBook!

Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State is now on FaceBook!  Please come like my page and show your support for Theresa's Haunted History.  All new entries to the blog, as well as progress on transferring the site, will be available for quick view on the FaceBook page.  In addition, there will be plenty of updates on HPIR business, Haunted and Historic Guyandotte news, and much more.

Things on FB that you WON'T necessarily find on the blog include paranormal news articles, articles of interest on WV History, and...CONTESTS!  Pictures and discussions forthcoming, and submissions of viewer photos, stories, questions, etc. are gladly accepted!

Thanks and happy haunting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's in Store for Theresa's Haunted History?

So, what is in store for Theresa's Haunted History? 

LOTS!  Right now is a major transitional phase, and I'm super busy.  Hopefully by the end of next month, all content will be transferred over from the website, and I can begin adding new content more frequently.  I've got several more Huntington, WV places to add, and some weird WV history that I'm hoping will be a big hit!  I've also got some more articles in the works from subjects ranging from xenoglossy to investigator certification.

And speaking of certification...I've just recently become certified by the Institutional Review Board!  That means I can now ethically interview, test, and research human participants.  I'm also getting ready to start my Summer semester and have been taking several online paranormal-based enrichment courses--next one to be finished in Genealogy.  If that wasn't keeping me busy enough, I'm also getting ready for two separate new cases with HPIR, getting my book polished and ready to be sold, and of course, working on an extra special lecture to take place at the Clay Center THIS coming October!

Keep checking back for more updates, and as always, new readers don't forget to check Theresa's Haunted History for even more ghosty goodness.  Happy Hauntings!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Darkish Knob

The following was written by Troy Taylor:

Near the town of Parsons is a tall, steep hill that is almost entirely covered with loose rock. It is a dangerous place and only one path leads over this hill and it is nearly impassable. The hill is called Darkish Knob and among local residents, it has long had a reputation for being haunted.

In the years before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was busy bringing as many slaves as possible to the north. These escaped slaves had to travel at night, hiding and sleeping  in the daytime, so that they wouldn't be seen. One trip through an area had to be different from the next for the guides that led these slaves. They had to sleep in different houses and use different trails to avoid the authorities who might be waiting for them along the familiar routes.

One of the best routes north wound through the mountains of West Virginia (although is was still part of the state of Virginia at that time). There were many places to hide out here but traveling at night through the deadly passes could be treacherous. To the slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad though, only death and despair awaited them if they went back, so these men and women would often travel along trails that most people wouldn't even attempt in the day time.

Such was the trail over Darkish Knob. It was here that a small house was hidden near the base of the hill that offered rest and safety for the slaves. The house was so well hidden that many travelers passed it by because they couldn't find it in the darkness. This made it the perfect place to hide out. 
One night, a young girl was trying to locate the house. She was being chased by slave-catchers, men who had been hired to find runaway slaves, and missed the house and started up the trail over Darkish Knob instead.

She rode her horse to the top of the hill and along the path that drops down into the Cheat River. As she reached the top, she turned and looked back. The horse lost his footing and plunged over the edge of the hill. As the girl fell to the rocks below, she let out a bellowing scream that was heard for nearly a mile.

The ghost of this young girl is said to return to the top of the hill every year on the eve of the date of her death. The ghost moans and cries for several minutes and then lets out a terrifying scream as the moment of her death approaches.

Parsons, West Virginia is located in the north central part of the state, north of Elkins and along Highway 219.

Wells Inn, Sistersville

The Wells Hotel was opened on January 15, 1895 by Ephraim Wells, the grandson of the founder of Sistersville, Charles Wells.   In 1894, oil was discovered in the area, making Sistersville an oil boom town.  The grand hotel was built to cater to the oil barons and the upper class citizens and travelers.

The mostly prosperous hotel passed through many owners over the years, opening and closing several times.  It was almost shut down in 1994 after a hard winter caused massive damage to the structure.  Luckily, the Boyd family purchased the inn, restored it, and added modern amenities, such as a pool and exercise area.  Walt Boyd, a former owner, is said to look eerily like Mr. Wells. 

The ghost is said to be that of Ephraim Wells himself, whose portrait hangs proudly in the hotel.  The ghost likes to move things around when no one is present, and strange noises are heard at night.  Doors slam on their own and an elevator frequently comes down from the third floor when no one is around.

Room #324 is said to be home to at least one strange incident.  A maid went to clean the room, but found the door stuck shut.  She said the door literally "sucked itself shut" with the exact  same results for all three tries at opening the door.  On the fourth try, it opened normally.

It is also said that the sounds of writing can be heard coming from Mr. Wells' former office on the second floor, and footsteps are heard walking down halls and passageways.

Today, the Wells Inn is under new ownership and its wonderful history is being preserved for another well as offering a wonderful dining and community experience.  Please go visit their Facebook page to keep up-to-date with current events.

Wells Inn FaceBook

Bower Cemetery at Twin Falls State Park

 Hamilton (Ham) Bower (b.1817) and his second wife, Virginia (Jennie) Ray Bower, moved into a house built circa 1835 (which is now the Pioneer Farm in the Twin Falls State Park) in the year 1866. 

Originally from Ashe County, North Carolina, Ham and his oldest son, Charles from a previous marriage, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  After the war, Charles was never heard from again, but Ham made it home to North Carolina only to find himself in poor health and his farm in badly need of major repair.  So...he and Jennie packed up their children and set off for the newly formed state of West Virginia. 

In addition to Charles, Ham had another son from his previous marriage named James Frank, who went by Frank.  Jennie, having also been previously married, brought with them her youngest daughter, Clarissa (Clara/Kate).  The family was also comprised of two other children shared by both Ham and Jennie, Jefferson David (David) and Robert Lee (Lee).

In West Virginia, they bought some land from whom it is believed to be Peter Belcher, which quickly became known as Bower’s Ridge.  While in WV, two more children were born to the couple, Wiley Columbus and Cynthia.

Ham’s health never did improve, and in 1869 cousins came and took him back to North Carolina where he died and was buried.  Jennie and the rest of the family stayed in West Virginia.  Jennie died in 1902.  With the exception of only one son, the rest of the couple’s children are buried in the family cemetery.

In 1895, Wiley married Christina (Teenie/Tina) Belcher and took over the house and the farm.  In 1915, presumably to make room for the couple’s 10+ children, Wiley expanded the original house, building a 7 room frame structure around the cabin.  Wiley died in 1959, and when the state began clearing land for the new state park, plans were to demolish the house.  As demolition began around 1965, the original house was discovered and it was decided that it should be preserved.  Today, it boasts the title of one of the county’s oldest standing structures.

Today, both the cabin and the Bower family cemetery are rumored to be haunted.

Photo from Find-a-Grave contributor, Old Hokie

Marshall University

There are various places around campus and off which are said to be haunted.  Here's a brief listing of those places from a Parthenon article by Kelly Donahue:
Old Main While tales abound from each part of this structure, Old Main is most noted for its ghost(s) of the stage.  A large, well-dressed man has been seen sitting backstage during performances who quickly disappears.  This man is believed to possibly be the ghost of a 1920s theater director.  This director disappeared after he was discovered to have been embezzling money from the college. However, in the late 1980s, a set of invoices and bills from the 1920s began arriving, signed by the missing director.  Old Main history.
Morrow Library  Morrow Library is now home to special collections and much of it is off limits with the new Drinko Library opening up.  However, at the time of this article, the library was still a largely functioning building...and a spooky one at that.  Several students admitted to have heard loud arguments while no one was around, and one student claims to have seen books fall off the shelf for no apparent reason.
Twin Towers East  In room 1218 of Twin Towers East (the male dorm) Jason Ranson had an experience that he said still haunted him. While lying in bed one night, Ranson claims to have seen the image of a young man sitting in his room, looking at him and his roommate.  In fear, Ranson pulled his blanket up over his head momentarily and when he looked again, the young man had disappeared and the door was still locked. Ranson later learned from friends that a young man had in fact committed suicide in that room.
Sigma Phi Epsilon House  The Sigma Phi Epsilon House is located at 1401 Fifth Avenue.  In the late 1960s or early 1970s it is rumored that a woman named Gail and her twin sons died in a basement fire of the home.  Reports of hearing sobbing and seeing unexplained images are just a few of the things that are attributed to the ghosts.  According to Chris Neusbaum, a junior and resident at the time of the article, the ghost of Gail takes care of the fraternity house and is a welcome addition.
Alpha Chi Omega House  At the Alpha Chi Omega house (located directly across from Corbly Hall on Fifth Avenue) is the ghost of another little boy who died in a fire. Unexplainable gusts of cool air, flickering basement lights that electricians cannot explain, and disappearing/reappearing objects are just some of the occurrences attributed to the little ghost boy.
More Marshall locations and stories coming soon!

Mai Moore Mansion

In tri-state ghost-lore, Bruce Chapel’s haunted history is often tied in directly with the haunted history of the Mai Moore Mansion.  The Mai Moore mansion was once the home to Charles Page Thomas Moore, his wife Urilla Kline, and four daughters, Ida, Rebecca, Lauretta Mai (often referred to as May, Mae or Mai), and Elizabeth V.  It was located in the Mercer’s Bottom/Apple Grove area of Mason County.

The Mai Moore Mansion was built around the time of, or shortly after the Civil War.  It was originally believed to have been a later residence of George Moore who died in 1880 while in residence.  George Moore was the uncle and adoptive father of Charles Page Thomas Moore.

Charles, who was born in February of 1831 in Greenbrier County, came to live with his uncle shortly after the death of his mother when he was 14 years of age.  His father, Thomas, died when Charles was just an infant. Charles would go on to attend Marshall Academy, and several other institutions of higher learning in his quest at obtaining his law degree.  While at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, PA, Charles co-founded the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 1852.  He was admitted to the bar in 1856, and served with Union forces during the Civil War.  After serving in the war, he returned home to practice law.  He went on to become a justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, retiring in 1881 to live in Mason County in the Mai Moore Mansion.  Charles Page Thomas Moore died on July 7, 1904.  He is buried in Bruce Chapel Cemetery.

After the death of Charles P.T. Moore, the mansion remained in possession of the Moore family.  It was located near a small Adena Indian mound, named the Mai Moore Mound after Charles' daughter, Lauretta Mai.  Mai, as she preferred to be called, remained in the home after his death, and the mansion thus became known as the Mai Moore Mansion. It was consumed by fire in 1959.  Vandals soon stole or damaged what was left, and by 1968 another fire had completely gutted the structure, leaving nothing but ruins.  Lauretta Mai, born on January 19, 1873, never married.  She passed away on March 12, 1965 and is also buried in Bruce Chapel Cemetery, along with her mother, and two sisters who also never married.

UPDATE February 2012:  HPIR has completed its second investigation of Bruce Chapel and Bruce Chapel Cemetery.  The ruins of this one stately mansion do still exist, about a half a mile away from the site of Bruce Chapel.  It is said that the chains, used for the slaves, are still evident in the basement ruins.  The mansion is located on PRIVATE PROPERTY.  Please seek proper permission before heading out to explore the site for yourself.

UPDATE June 2011:  I found this newspaper article stating that the lost WV Highway Historical Marker for the mound, originally placed in the 1960s and then later lost, has been replaced!  That's the great news.  The bad news:  it also appears that the author of this news article visited Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State's old site (or the HPIR site), and copied my text for the historical information on Mai Moore Mansion nearly word for word, without any source citation for myself or HPIR.  Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?

River Park Hospital

This comes straight from a Parthenon article by Sarah Altmeyer

"River Park Hospital, located at 1230 Sixth Ave., has not always been a psychiatric hospital. The building started as an orthopedics hospital in 1923, then it became the Huntington Hospital before finally becoming the River Park Hospital.

"I was walking down the hallway on the fifth floor and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I had the most overwhelming feeling shoot straight through my body," Donna Swiger, a registered nurse who has worked at River Park Hospital for 10 years, said. "My shift supervisor turned to me and said I just had my first experience with Edith."

Jennifer McVey-Holley, director of community relations at River Park Hospital, said the employees have reported strange sightings at the hospital. McVey-Holley said the staff is convinced a ghost named Edith haunts the hospital.

Edith Miller, a registered nurse, helped start the hospital in 1923.

Employees at the hospital said Edith is a friendly ghost and she is just checking to see if everything is running smoothly.

Some of the employees said they find it eerie when the elevator doors open when no one is in sight.

McVey-Holley said she hears various reports from employees about cold spots in the hospital, which often feel like a human presence. She said other reports, such as hearing someone walk down the hallway only to find no one is there and lights turning on and off have mysteriously occurred.

McVey-Holley said most employees report incidents on the fifth floor, where Edith's office was located.

Swiger said Edith's office is now where the record room is located. The nurse supervisors used to use Edith's room as their office, Swiger said. The supervisors did not stay in the room for long. They moved into a different room because they reported that they could feel Edith's presence.

McVey-Holley said Edith is not interested in hurting anyone. Edith is a positive spirit because she is looking out for all the employees.

McVey-Holley said, in a joking manner, everyone knows about Edith. She said the hospital should have an orientation program for the new employees to prepare them for their first experience with the ghost."

More information on this location is discussed in detail in Theresa's Haunted Huntington, Volume I.  Join me on Face Book to see how you can order YOUR copy! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Little (Haunted) Catholic Church on Irish Mountain

St. Colman Catholic Church is located about 15 miles away from Hinton, in an area of Irish Mountain named Sullivan's Knob.  Maurice Sullivan was the first settler in the area, purchasing 435 acres of land from the Gwinn Family in 1855.  The following year he was joined by the Quinlan family, and then several other Irish families.  Together, they turned the small, isolated community into a thriving Irish farm settlement.

The community  was largely of the Roman Catholic faith, and church services were held in private homes, provided once a month by a traveling preacher from St. Patrick's in Hinton.  The community pushed for a church of their own, and in 1876, Sullivan deeded over 1 acre of land to Bishop Joseph J. Kain for use as a church and a cemetery.  The cemetery unfortunately came first, as in that same year, John Quinlan passed away and was buried on the grounds.

The church was built the following year and consisted of a hewn log structure.  The cemetery is unique in that it has a "Lost Souls" corner for unbaptized babies.  The name St. Colman comes from a Gaelic saint, and the church became known as the "little Catholic church on Irish Mountain."

The church never did gain its own preacher, and continued to receive services through St. Patrick's in Hinton.  In 1928, the church was refurbished.  Clapboard painted white was erected over the hewed logs.  In 1983 it became a registered historical site.

Visitors to the church in recent years have reported unexplained cold spots and cold mists that are actually seen.  Some have reported these cold mists will take an almost human shape, and that sometimes they will stop and pause on pews by visitors, as if sitting beside them.
National Register Application

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ghost Hunters on South Park!

Again...I sincerely apologize for this, lmao!  (I really need to stop having to use that qualifier for the Friday Night Funnies...)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pottawattamie County Jail, Iowa

Built in 1884, the Pottawattamie County Jail is literally a one of a kind structure.  It was known as the "Squirrel Cage," because it was built as a 3-story rotary jail.  Prisoners were housed in pie wedge shaped cells, and a hand crank was used to line cells up with a single door located on each floor.

This unique design was invented by William Brown and Benjamin Haugh in 1881.  The Pottawattamie Jail was only one of 18 of these ever built, one of only three that are still surviving, and the ONLY three story rotary jail built.

The jail was built on the former site of the St. Paul's Episcopal Church morgue, and cost $30,000.  Construction was overseen by superintendent J.M. Carter.  After the jail was completed, Carter made his home in the 4th floor jailer's apartment.

The jail closed to inmates in 1969, and is now operated as a museum.  During its almost 90 years in operation, the jail saw very few deaths.  In 1932, an officer accidentally shot himself.  One inmate died of a heart attack, one hung himself in his cell, and a third died from injuries sustained after a three story fall; the inmate fell during an attempt to write his name on his cell's ceiling.  However, none of these deaths are believed to be connected to any of the hauntings.

Although tour guides and visitors to the museum are responsible for most of the ghostly reports, jailer Bill Foster started making claims as early as the 1950s.  Foster refused to stay in the fourth floor apartment.  Apparently, he felt safer lodging in the second story prisoner level, than with the "strange goings-on," such as the footsteps, he heard on the fourth floor.

One tour guide believes the spirit of J.M. Carter is responsible for the hauntings.  It is believed that he spent so much time at the jail, that even in death, he chose not to leave.  Others believe that the culprit is none other than Otto Gufath, another jailer.  Gufath's full-bodied apparition has been sighted on the fourth floor.  Still, others believe the jail to be haunted by the spirit of a young girl.  Visitors have felt the tugging of a small child on their clothes, and she's even been seen in a locked cell, wearing gray and a mournful expression.

Several investigation teams have investigated the jail, and have caught cabinets opening and closing, photographic anomalies, unexplained lights, and a feeling of being watched on the third and fourth floor.

South Dakota's Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was opened in 1913 as a vaudeville theater.  By 1954, the theater was acquired by a local community playhouse.  In 2002, the city of Sioux Falls took ownership of the aging theater, turned management over to SMG, and began the process of renovation.  Today, the site hosts several plays, concerts, and cultural events each year.

And, like many theaters from this era, hosts its own resident ghost.  The ghost of Larry made his first recorded appearance in 1959, when an actor named Ray was in the theater late rehearsing for an upcoming play.  As he gazed towards the balcony, an act indicated in his script, he noticed a glowing blue pulsating light.  In the middle of that light stood the apparition of a man, waving or pointing in Ray's direction.  The sighting occurred simultaneously with the feeling of a cold blast of air enveloping Ray...causing him to leave the location immediately!

A string of bad luck followed Ray immediately preceding the sighting.  The next day as Ray arrived, he noticed all the fuses, which were newly wired, had been blown.  Even worse, on two separate occasions, during a dress rehearsal and again on opening night for the play he had been rehearsing for the night he saw Larry, Ray was struck with a falling sandbag, being knocked unconscious both times.

The second major run-in with Larry occurred in 1972 when a technical director by the name of Jack was alone late one night in the building, sweeping the stage in preparation for upcoming rehearsals.  When Jack heard a noise behind him, he turned to find a tin-type photograph of a bearded man in his thirties...right in the path that he had just swept.  Jack put the photo on the light board.  No one could identify who the man was or where the photo came from, but many assumed it was the image of Larry.  The photo was kept on the light board until its mysterious disappearance.

There are several theories as to who Larry was in life.  Some say he was a construction worker who was killed during construction of the theater.  Others say he was a stage hand who killed during an early vaudeville show.  Still others say he was a gentleman who, having an affair with a married woman, was killed by her jealous husband in the theater's balcony.  Many agree with this theory as the apparition WAS sighted in the balcony in 1959.  However, there is a newer theory discussed in the book, Haunted Places of South Dakota. It seems as if there is reason to believe that Larry was an actor, who, distraught over not getting a lead part in the production of Romeo and Juliet, shot himself to death.  It is said his body was never found....
Allegedly, newspaper records for the time period were destroyed by fire, making it nearly impossible to find the true identity of Larry.

Pt. Pleasant's Pioneer Cemetery

Sometimes referred to simply as Pt. Pleasant Cemetery, this small collection of graves is the final resting place for many of the early settlers and notable landowners of the Ohio Valley.  When George Washington first surveyed the area that is now Pt. Pleasant, WV, the year was 1770 and the area was still part of Virginia.

Around 1772, plots of land along the Ohio were deeded to various soldiers for their service in the French and Indian War.  One of these men was a German emigrant named Col. Andrew Waggener, who is buried in the cemetery.  Waggener received 3400 acres, on which the town of Hartford now stands.  Signage in the cemetery notes that he was a hero of Craney Island, in the War of 1812.  Its debatable as to whether or not Waggener actually LIVED in the area, but he and his wife are buried here.

Two Revolutionary War veterans also are interred here.  John  Roush, along with six brothers and two brothers in law, all served in the Revolutionary War, and are all said to be buried within a ten-mile radius of each other.  Roush was born in 1742 and was a Captain in the Shenandoah County Company.  He was a purchasing agent for a 6000 acre tract of land above Point Pleasant, and when his mother died in 1796, he and his brothers moved to the area.  He was the first sheriff of Mason County and a lay evangelist with the Lutheran Church.  He and his wife, Dorothy, had no children.

The other notable Revolutionary War veteran is John Michael Roseberry. He was born in 1761 in New Jersey, the son of Michael Roseberry and Mary Mapel.  He died in 1855.  A marker erected by the Col. Chas. Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1925 states that Roseberry was with George Washington at Valley Forge.  He is buried alongside his wife, Florence Cree.

Perhaps the most interesting individual interred within, is Dr. Jesse Bennet.  Certainly, he seems to be the most flashy, lol.  Dr. Bennet is credited with performing the first Caesarian  operation in the country in 1794, when he made the decision to try to save both his wife and his unborn child.  Both his wife, Elizabeth Hogg, and tiny daughter survived the operation.  He is also noted for his service as a colonel of the Virginia Militia, and his refusal to aid in the Burr/Blennerhassett plot.

Dr. Bennett was actually buried in his family plot along Lock Rd., but was re-interred in Pioneer Cemetery in 1985, along with his 16 foot monument.  It is said that he was buried in a glass topped coffin, and his shirt was decorated with diamond shirt studs.
More Info and Pictures

Lewisburg's Confederate Cemetery

In early May, 1862, Union troops under the supervision of Colonel George Crook were camped on the present day site of Carnegie Hall, overlooking Lewisburg's downtown historic district.  The 3rd Provisional Ohio Brigade, who was there as a part of the campaign to cut off railroad communication between Tennessee and Virginia, consisted of members of the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, part of the 2nd (West) Virginia Cavalry, and two mountain howitzers.

On the morning of May 23rd,  Confederate troops under the command of Gen. Henry Heth advanced from the east.  2300 men from the 22nd Va. Infantry, 45th Va. Infantry, a detachment of the 8th Va. Cavalry (dismounted), and two untrained militia battalions under Lt. Col. William Finney and Major George Edgar opened fire at 5am from atop the ridge that now holds the cemetery. 

The Ohio Brigade charged...sending infantry down both the left and right, and the cavalry to charge down the middle.  After the left side fell first, the Confederate's middle was wide open, and they made a hasty retreat across the Greenbrier River, burning the bridge behind them.  The battle only lasted a little over an hour, and it is said that Heth blamed the untrained militia units, and a lack of artillery on the defeat.

While lasting only a little over an hour, thirteen Federals were killed, with another 53 wounded, and seven missing.  The Confederates lost 80, while another 100 were wounded, and 157 were captured. 

The nearby Old Stone Presbyterian Church was used as an emergency hospital during the battle, for both Union and Confederate forces.  Following the battle, the unclaimed dead Confederates were laid out in front of the church, later being buried along a trench on church/cemetery property, because Crook refused to allow the southern sympathizers to bury their dead.

It wasn't until after the war, approximately 1870, when the victims of the Battle of Lewisburg were joined by several unclaimed Confederate dead from the Battle of Droop Mountain (Nov. 6, 1863) and reinterred in a mass grave up the hill from the Old Stone Church, along the same ridge where they had suffered their defeat.

The mass grave is marked by an earthen mound in the shape of the Christian cross.  The cross measures 80x40 feet, is approximately 10 feet wide, and raises about three feet high.  It contains the remains of 95 unknown soldiers, many of whom died in the Battle of Lewisburg.  The head of the cross is marked with a commemorative plaque, erected in 1956 by the Federal government, and three individual graves are located on the small property...the graves of Captain J.W. Brannam and Col. Mordecia Halstead flank the left upper corner of the cross, while the grave of J.W. Rogers sits alone on the right.

The site is now listed on the National Register of Historic places, and is featured on the Civil War Discovery Trail.  It is noted as being one of the largest Confederate only cemeteries in West Virginia, but also as the only cemetery of its kind in the state to utilize such a unique landscaping feature.  Foot traffic can reach the cemetery along a walking path from Maple Street, while the cemetery can be reached by car along McElhanny Road.  

Soule Chapel: Resting Place of the Greenbrier Ghost

 Soule Chapel Cemetery is a small, rural cemetery adjacent to an 1849 white clapboard church.  It is located in the Meadow Bluff region of Greenbrier County, off of the old Kanawha Turnpike.  The church was named after an early Methodist circuit-rider who helped establish it.

While seemingly innocuous enough, this little church cemetery with graves going back to the mid-1800s, will forever be known for being the final resting place of Elva Zona Heaster-Shue...The Greenbrier Ghost.

Zona was buried here in an unmarked grave on January 25, 1897, two days after she passed away.  She was later reinterred after being exhumed for an autopsy.  She is buried beside her parents, and her grave is now marked with a modern granite tombstone.  The money for the tombstone was raised by the church's congregation, and put into place in 1979.

Today, the cemetery is visited frequently by those seeking out the Greenbrier Ghost.  The grounds of the cemetery are well maintained, but many of the older tombstones are in various states of disrepair.  The grave of Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother, is one such grave that has fallen victim to the ravages of time, and has fallen off its base.

For more information on the Greenbrier Ghost, I suggest reading the book, The Man Who Wanted Seven Wives, but for a quick primer, check out this link from Prairie Ghosts!

Note from Theresa:

My mom and I visited this cemetery in early August 2009...that's me behind the tombstone!  I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time of the visit, which was on a Saturday.  The following Tuesday is when I went into early labor and began my month-long hospital stay.  I'm so grateful that I didn't give birth in the middle of nowhere.  We literally took the most round-about way possible to get to the cemetery, and by the time we got there, I was in desperate need of a restroom, cutting our stay a little shorter than I had hoped!  However, we went on to Lewisburg, and spent the rest of the day perusing the town, including the Confederate Cemetery! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peterkin Retreat

 The Peterkin Camp and Conference center is a religious retreat located near the town of Romney, in Hampshire County.  Dedicated in 1947, it has continually offered summer camps and retreats for religious and non-profit groups.

A popular legend states that in the early 1970s, a preacher and his wife were staying in the main lodge, Gravatt Hall.  The preacher got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and had died of a heart attack in his room.  His wife did not discover his body until the next day.

Since then, it is reported that disembodied voices are prevalent, and the preacher can be heard walking up and down the staircase, greeting visitors.  Cold spots have been confirmed, and doors tend to open and close by themselves.  Many visitors actually claim they can feel his presence, watching them.  However, he will leave you alone if you ask him nicely.

Interestingly, the Peterkin website DOES acknowledge the presence of a ghost they call "Mr. Turley".  However, the site claims that Mr. Turley has been around since the beginning of the camp, well over 20 years before the preacher allegedly passed away.

Here's a brief history of the retreat as found on the website:

"For many years the bishops of WV had encouraged a program of summer conferences with an emphasis on Christian Education.   Many sites were explored before the property near Romney was considered.  The trustees purchased outright 50 acres and leased approximately one thousand acres of adjoining farm and timberland to be used for the new Camp and Conference Center.  There were abundant possibilities for nature trails, hiking routes, camping sites, and the erection of cottages.

In 1944, the Rev. Frank Rowley, rector of Grace Church, Elkins, took the first party of young people to the center.  He wrote, “We started out in two cars in a blinding snowstorm, but the day cleared up and we enjoyed it very much.  We hiked for over an hour up the trout stream and never did find the end of the property.  We all felt quite pleased with the place and also with being the first Episcopal youth group to visit the new conference center.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch in front of the fireplace in the main building.”

After much discussion with the Peterkin and Gravatt families, it was decided to name the center in honor of Bishop Peterkin and the main building after Bishop Gravatt.  A group from the Southern Convocation came and slept in tents and cooked over an open fire while they built a foot bridge over the stream, replaced missing steps to the boathouse, and cleared 500 yards of trail.  Between work sessions, they swam, played ball, fished, and hiked – truly the first ‘Friends of Peterkin’.

The first laymen’s conference was held in September 1945, with the Rev. W. C. Campbell as speaker.  After he became bishop, Bishop Campbell became Peterkin’s chief supporter.  Most of the buildings we enjoy today were remodeled or built under his leadership.  He and his wife spent the entire summer there every year with the campers.  The bishop’s cottage is named Campbell Cottage in his honor.

The first schedule of camps and conferences was held in the summer of 1946.  Mrs. Mamie Kenny, for whom the camp and conference coordinator’s house is named today, was the new housekeeper.
Dedication Day for the camp was June 26, 1947.  Over 400 people gathered as Bishop Strider led hymn singing and a procession all over the grounds.  Sermons were preached and a blessing given to each building.  Many of the plaques you still see at Peterkin were dedicated that day."

Photo property of the Brothers and Sisters of the Way

King's Daughters Court

King's Daughters Court was originally established in 1797, as a second prison for the Martinsburg area.   In 1890, a group of women from the Sisters of the Holy Spirit banded together to bring an order of nurses to the area.  During this time period, nursing was primarily taken care of in the home by family
members, which left the sisters, who named themselves King's Daughters, to nurse primarily to the inmates at the prison.

Soon after the formation of King's Daughters, with the help of a Dr. McSherry, the nurses got a chance at their own hospital.  The prison was becoming overcrowded, and by 1893, the order had purchased the building for a grand total of $2,610.  After extensive remodeling, the new hospital, King's Daughters' Court, opened on May 15, 1896.

In 1913, the nurses applied for, and were granted a charter to open up a training school for nurses on the site.  Classes officially began on September 14, 1914 under the direction of Miss Mary M. Hudson, with Mrs. Florence Knapp acting as Superintendent of Nurses.

Fifteen women were originally enrolled in the program, but due to a nasty rumor that the school was not chartered, and thus the students would not be allowed to take their state board exams, all but one of the first class of students left the program.  The remaining student, Ms. Margaret Beard, was the first graduate of the school, and went on to nurse the wounded in WWI.  Ms. Beard was killed in service in Europe in 1918.

Over the years, the hospital graduated 444 students before shutting down in 1973.  The hospital later became office space, among other things, before being abandoned for many years after the three stories of flooring deteriorated.

Due to its long history, there are a number of ghost stories connected with the building.   Several witnesses have reported picking up a young girl, around 8 years old, on a nearby road.  The little girl is clearly distressed, and begs the driver to take her to the hospital to see her mother.  When the driver lets the little girl out, she runs up to the door of the hospital, where she is greeted by a nurse in period clothing.  The next time the good Samaritan drives by the hospital, it is obviously abandoned.

Other witnesses have reported hearing the scream and the thud of a woman jumping out of a third story window.  Two people driving by actually saw the apparition of a woman in a red cape jumping out the window and landing on the ground.  The story behind the legend is that an African American nurse had fallen in love with a white patient.  The lovers knew their relationship would never be accepted, so the nurse killed herself in her grief by flinging herself from the top of the building.

Interestingly, the building is constructed of limestone blocks.  A popular belief among students of the paranormal is that limestone acts almost as a battery cell and conductor for residual energies.  There are many hauntings associated with limestone structures throughout the world. 

Historical Info

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gen. Lewis Inn, Lewisburg

The General Lewis Inn opened in 1929 by Randolph K. and Mary Milton Hock.  The Hocks purchased the historic John Withrow home, and actually built the rest of the inn around the existing structure.   The Withrow home was built in 1834, and was home to James Withrow's son.  James was a prominent early citizen who built the first brick home in the area, which is still standing.

 The Withrow home is now the east wing of the inn, the wing which holds the current dining room. The inn was named after General Andrew Lewis, as was the town of Lewisburg.

There are at least three ghosts who inhabit the Gen. Lewis Inn.  The first is a slave named Reuben.  Reuben is said to have been hanged in the are that is now the dining room, and he can be seen sitting at one of the dining room tables.  It is in the dining room that a paranormal investigator reported seeing a napkin rise and fall to the floor.

The second ghost is that of a little girl.  Guests and staff have reported the sounds of a little girl both crying and laughing coming from either room 206 or 208.

Room 208 has another ghost, who is probably the most well-known ghost  at the inn.  She is the "lady in white," whose portrait hangs in the room.  However, no one knows where the portrait came from, or who its subject is.  While known as the "lady in white," an apparition of a woman wearing a gray Civil War era dress has been spotted floating slightly above the ground.

Obviously, while you're in the area, you'll also want to check out the final resting place of Zona Heaster Shue, the Greenbrier Ghost!

Update May 2009:  Some HPIR acquaintances recently spent the night in Suite 202, and each had a ghostly experience with who they believe is the little girl ghost.  Two women both report waking up at various times in the night to see a figure standing by their respective beds.  Both independently described the figure as being thin, a little taller than the back of a rocking chair, and wearing brown.  The figure appeared to be facing away from the bed, and disappeared shortly thereafter.  A third woman awoke in the night to her bed shaking, as if someone was trying to rouse her from sleep.

The staff at the inn keep record of the paranormal experiences of guests, and these women were told that Suite 202 had also been a site of activity for the little ghost girl.


Raleigh County Courthouse

The current Raleigh County Courthouse is located on Main Street in Beckley.  It was built in in 1936-37 around the old brick courthouse, built in 1894.  Evidence of such can still be seen in the elevator shaft.  The WPA project used locally quarried sandstone, and was designed by L.T. Bengston and built under general contractor J.O. Freeman.

The courthouse is home to a phantom woman who wears a red dress.  She is often seen in the courtroom or jury room.  The identity of this apparition is unknown, but it is theorized that she was a former employee, or a family member of someone who was tried and convicted at the courthouse.  

St. Colman Catholic Church

St. Colman Catholic Church is located about 15 miles away from Hinton, in an area of Irish Mountain named Sullivan's Knob.  Maurice Sullivan was the first settler in the area, purchasing 435 acres of land from the Gwinn Family in 1855.  The following year he was joined by the Quinlan family, and then several other Irish families.  Together, they turned the small, isolated community into a thriving Irish farm settlement.

The community  was largely of the Roman Catholic faith, and church services were held in private homes, provided once a month by a traveling preacher from St. Patrick's in Hinton.  The community pushed for a church of their own, and in 1876, Sullivan deeded over 1 acre of land to Bishop Joseph J. Kain for use as a church and a cemetery.  The cemetery unfortunately came first, as in that same year, John Quinlan passed away and was buried on the grounds.

The church was built the following year and consisted of a hewn log structure.  The cemetery is unique in that it has a "Lost Souls" corner for unbaptized babies.  The name St. Colman comes from a Gaelic saint, and the church became known as the "little Catholic church on Irish Mountain."

The church never did gain its own preacher, and continued to receive services through St. Patrick's in Hinton.  In 1928, the church was refurbished.  Clapboard painted white was erected over the hewed logs.  In 1983 it became a registered historical site.

Visitors to the church in recent years have reported unexplained cold spots and cold mists that are actually seen.  Some have reported these cold mists will take an almost human shape, and that sometimes they will stop and pause on pews by visitors, as if sitting beside them.
National Register Application

Berkeley County Poorhouse Farm

The Poor House Farm is now located on the grounds of Poor House Farm Park, owned and maintained by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board.

In August of 1766, 400 acres west of Martinsburg were granted to David and Elizabeth Crochett by Lord Fairfax.  In 1776, the Crochetts sold part of the land to John Snodgrass, and when he died in 1788, his portion went to his sons.  This would later be the land  for the Poor House Farm.

Around the year 1844, John and Elizabeth Emert owned the property, and built a log cabin, which would later be converted into the stone building standing today.  The Emerts also added a wash house and a smoke house before selling the property in 1850 for use as a county poor farm.  They received a sum of $5,626 from the county for the property.

In 1881, a frame sick house was added.  During this time, the house also suffered from overcrowding.  An 1882 census report showed that there were 49 people living in the home, and there were six deaths/three births that year.

By 1906, the term poor house or alms house was considered politically incorrect, and the property became known as the "county farm."  Ten years later, a brick steward's house was added by JP Talhem.  By the 1950s, the welfare system had replaced the need for poor farms, and the buildings were leased to private individuals and for the use of group homes.  The Kester family rented the brick steward's building until 2002, and the main stone house was used by the Eastern Panhandle Mental Health organization until 2001.

The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board has owned and operated the farm lands since 1994.  The frame infirmary house built in 1881 was razed, and the stone house received a new roof.  There are at least three graveyards on the area, and two potters' fields.  The Emert family is buried behind the brick steward's house.

The original stone house is said by many to be haunted.  The area near the fireplace has a heavy feeling, and there are several spots in the house where there is a heavy, hard to breathe feeling.  The apparition of a soldier is also said to be seen on the grounds.


Hammond Mansion and Grist Mill, Hedgesville

The Hammond Mansion was built between 1838 and 1845, and was home to Dr. Allen C. Hammond and his family.  It was an L-shaped brick federal style building.  It is rumored that another family lived on the property in the 1700s, but was attacked by bears.

The Hammonds were among the few Confederate supporters in an area which was largely under Union occupation.  While Dr. Hammond and his sons were off fighting in the War (his son George was with Company B 1st Virginia Confederate Calvary and died during the war), the ladies remained in the home.

Legend states that during this time, the ladies shot, sniper-style, several Union soldiers.  As a result, the ladies were captured and locked into the brick, windowless slave shack on the property.  The order was given to get rid of the women, meaning to take them out of the area, but the order was misinterpreted, and indeed, the women were gotten rid of.  Fire was set to the slave shack, killing them all.

Also during this era, the home served as a Civil War hospital.  When a typhoid epidemic broke out, victims were sent here, and quarantined on the summer porch.

In 1978, a fire gutted the home, leaving little more than a brick shell.  In its state of disrepair, the home became a favorite shelter for the homeless population, and one vagrant did freeze to death in the area of the summer kitchen.

It  is this homeless man, and the women who tragically died in the fire, who are said to still roam the grounds of the mansion.

The house WAS eventually restored, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Spring Mills Historic District, listed as for sale.  Also in the district is another haunted location, the Stephens-Hammond Mill at Falling Waters.  It is said that the mill, once used by Gen. Jackson, was home to ghostly lights and sounds coming from the second and third stories of the mill, even though the floors of the upper levels were rotted away.  The mill is now torn down.

 Historic Register Application

Eddy Chapel Cemetery

Eddy Chapel and Eddy Chapel Cemetery are located in Leon, Mason County.

The cemetery is located in a bend in the road, and at midnight during clear nights, a baby is sometimes seen or heard crying in the bend. The baby is said to have been killed in the area.

The cemetery itself has graves dating back to the early 1800s. One grave is that of a Confederate soldier, who was buried outside the cemetery property due to the area being largely Union supporters. Locals sometimes leave flowers for him.

Another story involves this same area (Beech Hill), but the house is torn down now. Many decades ago a local woman was dying of typhoid fever, and not expected to live through the night. As per custom, the family and neighbors set up with the sick woman that night. A group was out on the front porch having a smoke, when they claimed that a woman wearing all white walked up onto the porch, and wordlessly touched the doorknob before walking back off. The woman who was not expected to live through the night miraculously and completely recovered.

Thanks to Travis for the information!

Cemetery Information and Photo from WV Cemetery Preservation Association

Monument Place

Monument Place, otherwise known as "Shepherd's Hall," was built in 1798 atop the site of Fort Shepherd.  It was built by Moses Shepherd, and was home to his wife, Lydia, and himself.  Moses and Lydia were instrumental in getting the National Road directed through the Wheeling area.

According to legend, Monument Place is haunted by the previous "lady of the house," presumably Lydia, who is seen often in various parts of the building.  The sounds of music and dancing are also heard on the second floor by many of the house's cleaning staff.  The home hosted such people as Gen. Lafayette, James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay.  It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was renamed "Monument Place" by resident Lucie Loring Milton.
National Register Application 

Greenbottom Cemetery

The Greenbottom Cemetery is located off Rt. 2, outside of LeSage. 

According to reports, the cemetery is home to paranormal activity, including unexplainable cold spots, and dense fog.  Several HPIR training exercises, and an HPIR training video have taken place in the cemetery, but no activity has been witnessed.

 A recent story has come to the attention of the group, involving a group who were at the cemetery one day.  When one member of the group went to her car, the others observed a man approach the vehicle.  When asked who the man was, the girl he approached had claimed not to have seen him.  This incident reminds me of my own somewhat creepy experience several years ago.  My second time meeting the group was for a training/meeting at the cemetery.  I was there a little early, and was parked in the cemetery.  I saw a man come down off the hill toward the parking lot, get in an old vehicle, and drive up the path.  Before driving up the path, the elderly man looked me straight in the eye, staring me down.  When the next member showed up, I asked if they had seen the man or the car, and if that was someone in our group who I hadn't met.  That member did not see the man...or the car...and I never saw it leave the cemetery.

Photo and Transcription  property of Barry Huffstutler

Second John North House

There are actually two John North Houses in Lewisburg.  The Second John North House is located at 200 S. Lafayette St., and was built in 1835, on one of the original 64 lots that made up Lewisburg.  It was a "Traveler's Inn" in the 1920s, and is now owned by Paul and Aimee Hanna.
The following story is from the WV Tourism Board:

 A story of a romance ending in tragedy makes a perfect ghost story. The John North Second House in Lewisburg is home to such a story. Legend has it that a young lady was sent to live with her aunt and uncle to keep her away from a soldier with whom she had fallen in love. She spent much time in her room, sinking into a depression. During a Christmas visit to her parent's house, she met her true love and he vowed to come to Lewisburg to visit her. He kept his promise, but was only allowed to speak to her from the corner of the street next to the house. After his departure, he paid children to deliver spring flowers to her each day. He was never able to visit again, and in despair, the young woman hanged herself in the only closet in the house. Since then, owners of the house report smelling flowers, even in the winter, and seeing a female apparition. One owner grew tired of hearing the sounds coming from the closet, so he boarded it up, even though it was the only closet in the house.

It is also said that around that same time a soldier, who was on his second visit to Lewisburg, was shot in the stomach and died within sight of the John North Second House.

Was this the young woman's long, lost love? No one knows for sure, but many think it is. Visit Lewisburg and decide for yourself.

National Road

The National Road is the nation's first federally funded interstate highway, conceived in 1806.  Construction began in Maryland in 1811, and today, the road stretches over 800 miles across six states. 

The road reached Wheeling in 1818, and it is this area which is reputedly haunted.  Near the Pennsylvania border (Ohio County), the sounds of cannons firing can be heard coming from the surrounding woods.  During the Civil War, the road was used to transport troops, and several minor skirmishes did take place along the route.

Maslin-Gamble Mansion, Moorefield

The Maslin House was built in 1848 by Thomas Maslin.  Maslin was born in 1808 to William and Ann Maslin of Berkeley County.  The home was built by two Baltimore builders from local timber and brick.  From 1850 to 1865, Maslin was a justice of the county court, among other political activities.

It is also said that Maslin was a strong Confederate sympathizer, and southern gentleman, despite the strong Union loyalties of Hardy County during the war.  One legend states that Confederate soldiers were hidden in a secret cellar room during a Union raid.
Maslin died in 1878, and is buried in Olivet Cemetery.  The home remained in the family for a few years before being sold to Mortimer Gamble, a lawyer and House of Delegates member.

According to haunted history, there are willow trees on the property that bear markings showing where slaves were tied up to them.  The home is also said to be haunted by the cries of children.  It is said that Maslin's daughter had multiple children fathered by slaves, whom he murdered and burned their bodies.
National Register Application

Colonial Lanes

Colonial Lanes was built in 1959 on Huntington's West Side.  Shortly after it was built, ten additional lanes were constructed, along with a connected beer tavern known as the Taproom.

In 1967, the Taproom received its liquor license and was officially renamed Rebels and Redcoats Tavern. It became a 4-star restaurant in 1969 and served food up until 2004, when it reverted back to a tavern.

The hauntings at Colonial Lanes seem concentrated on only the tavern area of the complex, with the upstairs stockroom, kitchen, and wine room being the most paranormally active.  According to several seasoned employees interviewed for a Marshall University Parthenon article, the activity began shortly after the death of Mr. Frankel, one of the owners.  Mr. Frankel is said to have been a friendly and compassionate man who always went out of his way for his staff and patrons.  Incidentally, employees say activity has decreased significantly over the past 15-20 years, ever since Mr. Frankel's son stepped in.  HPIR has received an update from the Frankel family stating that the activity did not, nor ever concentrate on Frankel's presence, or lack thereof.

Nevertheless, the tavern is still believed by many to be one of the most haunted locations in the tri-state area.  Here's a sampling of activity reported over the years:

1. The smell of cherry pipe tobacco and the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the stockroom.
2. People hearing their name being whispered or called out.
3. The door to the kitchen opening, then slamming shut.
4. A swinging door near the bar swings open wide as if someone is going through.
5. Employees leave the room, only to return to the chairs stacked on top of the tables, and other things moved or out of place.
6. Opening employees find things like the radio turned on, even though they know it was turned off the night before at  closing.
7. One man heard a knock at the bathroom door when no one was around except for one other person who was no where near the bathroom at the time.

UPDATE APRIL 2011:  HPIR finally got a chance to investigate this location!  Please check out our INVESTIGATION PAGE, and a follow-up on Theresa's Haunted History for more information.  Thanks!

Spencer State Hospital

In 1885, crowding at the state mental institution at Weston became so great, that the need for a new facility was a top priority.

Two years later, a task force was able to pass legislation to build a second hospital, located in Spencer, Roane County, WV. The land was bought from William P. Goff for a sum of $9,200 and when built, the Kirkbride building measured in at 1/4 of a mile long. It was billed as the longest continuous brick structure in America, built from native stone.

The hospital opened for patients on July 18, 1893. Named the Second Hospital for the Insane, the doors opened to 54 number that would increase to 696 over the next ten years.

In the early 1920s, the name was changed to Spencer State Hospital. Several years later a 5 bed hospital clinic was added. The renovations didn't stop there, though. Starting in 1959, the roof was replaced, drastically altering the facade of the building. In 1972 Opportunity Hall, a section for teenagers, was added, followed the next year by a new administration and food service building.

1989 saw the closure of this massive monument, and in October of 1993 everything in the building was auctioned off, including patient x-rays. Before the building was torn down, strange events were often reported, including apparitions, moaning, chain rattling, etc. Rumor has it that doctors buried patients under the dirt floor and when you enter those rooms, you can feel people breathing on your neck.

Like many similar institutions, this one hosted Dr. James Freeman, who is known as the father of frontal lobotomies.  It is said that on one visit, Dr. Freeman forgot or misplaced his hammer used in the procedure.  A wooden mallet was found in the kitchen and used in its place.  Between 1949 and 1952 Dr. Freeman performed lobotomies on over 200 patients, one dying when an out of place artery was severed.

The property does have several cemeteries, dating back to 1902. A total of 750 unmarked and 107 marked graves are memorialized by a white historical sign.

More photos and information

Mountaineer Opry House

The Mountaineer Opry House was opened in July of 1971 by Paul King, and his wife Rebecca.  William "Paul" King was born on September 30th, 1921.  He was a Shriner, a Mason, and a thirty year employee of Union Carbide, where he worked as a chemical truck driver.  He was the son of William and Lessie King.

After Rebecca's death in 1991, Paul decided he didn't want to run the Opry House full time anymore, so he asked two of his regular patrons, Larry and Mary Stephens, if they were willing to take over.  They agreed, and Paul stayed on temporarily to help out.

Paul passed away in July of 2002, and is buried in the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.  Larry and Mary still own and operate the venue, and have upgraded the sound system significantly.  The Mountaineer Opry house offers world-renowned bluegrass acts every Saturday, and has continuously since 1971.

The Mountaineer Opry House is listed on several sites as being haunted.  It is said that when one is on the stage, the sound of a banjo playing in one of the rehearsal rooms can be heard...even though no one else is in the building.  HPIR has contacted the owners, who disputed this claim and have no idea how the tale got started.

Woodmere Cemetery

 Woodmere Cemetery was established in 1918, and is located on Washington Blvd.  Woodmere has several legends attached to it, and the entire cemetery is said to be haunted.  Witnesses have reported seeing shadowy apparitions at night, and have captured photographic anomalies.

The most well-known legend of Woodmere Cemetery is that of Mother Blood.  There is a  tombstone near the road of the cemetery inscribed with the words Mother Blood.  It is said that at midnight on a full moon (or Halloween, depending on who is telling the story) the light hits the stone in just the right way to make it look as if the stone is actually bleeding.  The legend further goes on to say that Mother Blood was a mid-wife who murdered reality, Mother Blood was Edith Blood, who died in 1939 at the age of 60.  (More information on Mother Blood can be found in Theresa's new book, Haunted Huntington, Volume I.)  There are reddish stains dripping down the back of the stone, which can be attributed to the natural weathering process and leaching of the stone, and possibly...even stains from where a "clip on" flower vase was positioned atop the grave.  In fact, several nearby graves also have similar stains.  Photos of the Blood monument are property of Theresa Racer, and can be found on the Find a Grave website.  They may not be used without permission.
There are a few famous burials in Woodmere, including actress Virginia Egnor, WV governor Henry Hatfield, and baseball player "Salt Rock" Midkiff.  However, Woodmere is the final resting place to another sort of infamous family...the Patterson family.

The Patterson Murders/Suicide 
From an article in Huntington Quarterly by Joseph Platania

"Tuesday morning, October 25, 1932, a few weeks before the presidential election that would send FDR to the White House in the depths of the Depression, Huntington residents awoke to read front page headlines about the murders of coal executive S.W. Patterson and his wife at the hands of their 27-year-old son, Thomas C. Patterson, who then took his own life. The annihilation of this prominent Huntington family occurred at about 11 p.m. Sunday, "in the palatial Patterson residence on Staunton Road," in the Highlawn section of town. Evidence at the scene of the double murder/suicide showed that Mrs. Patterson had been shot twice in the head as she listened to a radio program in the living room. Mr. Patterson was killed as he sat reading in his study at the other end of the hall. He was shot once in the head and there was a gash in his forehead, presumably from the blow of a hatchet that was later found in his son's room.

After the murders of his parents, the son, Thomas, locked himself in his bedroom where he slashed his wrists with a large butcher knife and bled to death. An article reports that a note found in his bathroom read: "`I have been murdered by a ghost - a devil. I wish to be cremated. Homicidal maniac. I'm sorry.' The note was signed by the young man's initials - T.C.P.," says the story.

The bathroom was described as "a shambles" with blood-smeared walls where the younger Patterson had tried to write on the wall with his own blood and with hatchet marks where he had hacked the wall. The bathtub and basin also were smeared with blood.

Inside the son's room and bathroom were found a Colt revolver, two hatchets and a large butcher knife.
An article states that Thomas Patterson was "a writer and poet" who had graduated from Yale University in 1926 and had returned to Huntington to live. After his graduation, Patterson had pursued a literary career. It adds that Patterson had had a slim volume of poetry privately published and he had completed a biography of Edgar Allan Poe that was in the hands of a publisher.

The official investigation of the double murder/suicide case revealed that the younger Patterson had suffered from a mental condition for several years and had been under the care of a Baltimore psychiatrist who had recommended that he be institutionalized.

The Pattersons had moved to Huntington from Williamson, W.Va. in 1923. S.W. Patterson was in business with his brother, Col. G.S. Patterson, of Huntington, in the Sycamore Coal Company.

An article reports that the inability of servants to enter the Patterson home on Monday morning led to the gruesome discovery of the bodies by Col. Patterson and his wife.

Following a joint funeral service on October 26, 1932, the S.W. Patterson family were buried in three identical gray caskets in Woodmere Cemetery."

 The Patterson home is also said to plagued by paranormal activity.  However, the current owners are not willing to discuss such matters, so please respect their privacy. 

Swann Cemetery

Swann Cemetery, located in Barboursville, has long had a reputation of being haunted.  According to a popular index of haunted places, Swann Cemetery gives off a feeling of not being alone, and photographs taken there often show anomalies.

I emailed Mr. George Swann about the claims, who informed me that there are actually seven Swann Cemeteries in Cabell County, and at least three in Barboursville, two of which are within miles of each other near Ousley's Gap, off Malcolm Rd.  These two are the Leven C. Swann Cemetery, and the Hezekiah Swann Cemetery. The "haunted" cemetery is most likely the Leven C. Swann Cemetery, shown in the photo above.

Mr. Swann could tell me nothing of either cemetery being haunted, but was able to tell me that the area around the cemetery was the original homestead, and had been in the family since 1869.  The family before them had owned the property since around 1810.

In addition, Mr. Swann also informed me that his grandfather did share a "ghost" story that happened in the area.  Apparently, when the grandfather was a boy, he was walking home one night, and saw a coffin floating through the woods.  It is possible that due to the proximity of the original homestead to the cemetery, that the coffin incident DID take place in the woods surrounding the cemetery.

Following an HPIR meeting/picnic at Barboursville Park, we drove out to the cemetery for an informal exploration.  It's a wonderful little area, and the Swann family has worked diligently to restore and maintain the property.  Unfortunately, we did not capture any photographic evidence, and a full investigation was not undertaken.  I did, however, get a few photos that had not yet been posted to the Find-a-Grave site!

If you visit either of these cemeteries, please be respectful, and only visit during the day, unless given prior permission.  Special thanks to George Swann for his help in researching this location.

Find-a-Grave photo from Belinda Robertson

Swann Genealogy 
Leven C. Swann Cemetery Transcriptions